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Celebrating a Centennial Separately, Together

By Zachary Mott | August 10, 2017

FORT McCOY, Wis. -- 1917 was a good year. It was the year the 88th Division, along with more than 60 other Army divisions, came into existence to assist American allies and join the fight in World War I.

The 88th Division was first constituted August 5, 1917 at Camp Dodge, Iowa. After a century of serving in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism, the “Cloverleaf” division carries on its legacy today as the 88th Regional Support Command. Now, 100 years after it began, the 88th will be celebrating its centennial anniversary August 19 with a ceremony at the 88th RSC headquarters on Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

“That history of persistence, perseverance and excellence lives on in the 88th today as we prepare the most lethal Army Reserve in the history of the nation to deter our adversaries,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Reinert, the commanding general of the 88th RSC.

100-years has filled the 88th with a long list of accomplishments. From battlefield honors dating back to World War I to four Army Community of Excellence awards in the last eight years, the 88th continues to be one of the premier Army Reserve organizations. Also included in the proud history of the 88th are Medal of Honor recipients Capt. Robert E. Roeder and 2nd Lt. Charles W. Shea, both from the 350th Infantry Regiment and both earned during World War II.

“The name, mission and location of the 88th has changed many times over the course of a century, however, the spirit of the Blue Devils is still just as strong as it was when Camp Dodge was bustling with young Doughboys,” Reinert said.

In addition to the 88th Division, other notable Army divisions and events can be traced to 1917:

  • Army divisions: Notably, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 81st, 82nd, 88th and 99th divisions were constituted in 1917 as part of the American military buildup following the Declaration of War on April 6, 1917.

  • Events: Zimmerman Telegram, February 1917, a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German minister of Mexico is intercepted and deciphered. The message offered U.S. territory to Mexico if it joined the side of Germany in the war. Russian Revolution beings in March 1917 with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II and a provisional government established. Declaration of War, April 1917, the United States declares war on Germany. Selective Service Act passes in May 1917 that required all males between 21 and 30 to register their names for possible enrollment into the military. The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917.

2nd Lt. Charles W. Shea 88th Division 88th RSC Blue Devils Camp Dodge Capt. Robert E. Roeder Centennial cloverleaf doughboys Fort McCoy Infantry readiness Regional Support Command US Army Reserve USARC World War I World War II